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.fdf files will not print, but other pdfs work

Community Beginner ,
Dec 18, 2023 Dec 18, 2023

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I haven't been able to print fdf files for a few months.  It happened after I tried to change my default printer to another printer and then switched it back.  Something went loopy either on my Mac or with Acrobat Reader.  I can print PDFs normally, but when when I try to print FDF files (one-time print coupons), it goes through the dialog process (confirming I want to print this file, etc.) but then nothing happens and I'm sent back to the Recent Files screen.  These are coupons which only allow you to print once, so I never really get to "see" the file, but when I open them in Acrobat they prompt me to print.  I've done this for years.  I can also do this on other computers that I have.  It's just this computer I am on (it's on Sonoma, and yes I have the latest Dec update).  Normally, when I print fdf files, after I said OK to the print confirmation dialogue, it will cause the printer icon to show up and proceed to print.  However, now, I just get sent back to the Adobe screen and no print spool dialog shows up.  I've tried uninstalling Acrobat a few times.  I event went into ~/Library and /Library to remove all the Acrobat app files to get rid of any settings.  JavaScript is enabled.  I've also reset the printing system, removed the printer and reinstalled the print drivers.  Nothing is working.  PDFs are perfectly fine.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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FDF files are not printable on their own. They need to be imported into a PDF file first.

If you have a PDF file with the same name as the FDF in the same folder it will automatically use it, but if you don't it should prompt you to select one when you load the FDF file. Does that not happen?

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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Coupon sites often use FDF files in order for you to print once and only once. I have been normally using them in the past. Website produces an fdf which you download onto your computer. When you try to open the file, Acrobat will immediately tell you that this file is trying to print and gives you a confirm dialog whether you want to print. In a normal situation, it gets sent to the default printer (spooler appears) and it prints without you ever viewing the actual file contents or having the normal Print Options screen. Problem is now it's not getting spooled to the Printer. It just returns to Acrobat's main screen. Acrobat "thinks" it has printed because when I try to do it again, it says I have already printed and won't let me do it again. So, it's taken me weeks to even test why it isn't working because I either have to request another coupon or wait for another deal to show up. It works fine on my other computer, so something got messed up on this one computer. But I can't tell if it's an Acrobat problem or a macOS or Printer Driver problem. I can print all other documents on this printer, including regular PDF files from Acrobat.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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Can you share such a file? And limiting a file to one-time printing is only possible if it's protected using DRM technology. Otherwise you can just make a copy of the original and do it as many times as you wish.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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Well, you can try to download an fdf file from this coupon site:

https://linktr.ee/websaver.ca

I'll attach an fdf here which I personally haven't opened, but if somebody else does, it may not open. I'm not sure if it's unique to computer or if there's online verification.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 21, 2023 Dec 21, 2023

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OK, I examined the file.

- It's not an FDF file, but a PDF (renamed as .fdf, for some reason).

- It uses a script to connect to a server which validates the request and then prints the file (if it hasn't been printed before). Otherwise it closes it.

- This service also validates the name of the printer you're using, probably to prevent the file from being sent to a virtual printer so a new copy can be created. This is most likely the part that fails on your machine, due to the name of your (default) printer.

- It's not too difficult to get around all of this validation and just display the coupon directly but I won't specify how to do that here.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 21, 2023 Dec 21, 2023

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So should I try to change my printer's name or whatever its name is on my network?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 21, 2023 Dec 21, 2023

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Yes, and make sure it's set as the default one, or at least the last one you used in Acrobat (from any file).

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New Here ,
Jan 22, 2024 Jan 22, 2024

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Got the same issue and it doesn't work even if I changed my printer's name... 

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